“Our heritage and ideals, our code and standards - the things we live by and teach our children - are preserved or diminished by how freely we exchange ideas and feelings.” - Walt Disney
I found the Common Core Standards documented online for the public at the Common Core State Standards Initiative website. It was a pleasant surprise to see the prominence of higher order thinking they contain as early as kindergarten.
In analysis we break information into parts by identifying motives or causes, make inferences and find evidence to support generalizations. Kindergarteners begin with these Common Core objectives for Reading Informational Text: Key Ideas and Details. Kindergarteners begin with objectives like (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.1) “With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a [informational] text.”, (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.2) “With prompting and support, identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.”, and (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.3) “With prompting and support, describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text.”
Analysis becomes more sophisticated as students progress through grades. Juniors (11th grade) and seniors (12th grade) are expected to (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.1) “Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.”. Also when completing (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.2) “Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.” and (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.3) ”Analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of the text.”.
The states obviously value analytical skills.
Synthesis involves compiling information in a different way by combining elements in a new pattern or proposing alternative solutions.
Kindergarteners are asked to synthesize when they (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.K.1) ”Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose opinion pieces in which they tell a reader the topic or the name of the book they are writing about and state an opinion or preference about the topic or book (e.g., My favorite book is...)”. High schoolers are required to (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.9) “Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.” before graduating.
The Governors also recognize the value of synthesis.
Evaluation occurs when we present and defend opinions by making judgments about information, validity of ideas or quality of work based on a set of criteria.
Once again our kindergarteners are initiated to the skills of higher order thinking when they are asked to (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.K.1) “Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose opinion pieces in which they tell a reader the topic or the name of the book they are writing about and state an opinion or preference about the topic or book (e.g., My favorite book is...).” and more. Upperclassmen are expected to perform evaluative tasks when they (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.2) “Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.”.
The standards listed here are just a small sample of the objectives requiring higher order thinking.
The states are demanding instruction in higher order thinking. Clearly there is work to be done here.
Begin by using the Common Core Standards are your curricular guideline. Bookmark the website in your browser. You can also download the standards to your smartphone or tablet (see Flipping Tip: Use the Common Core). Then peruse the blog series.
I am available if you need help.